Residential solar stock Sunrun should still be a long-term winner for investors even with its recent struggles, according to investment firm Needham. Analyst Vikram Bagri initiated coverage of the solar stock with a buy rating, saying in a note to clients on Thursday evening that the company should remain one of the biggest players in the U.S. solar market. "We think the industry, which has expanded rapidly since 2016, can keep growing at a fast pace due to EV adoption, a focus on energy resilience, rising utility rates, and heightened environmental awareness. RUN will benefit from these tailwinds, we believe, thanks to its experienced management team, strong customer relationships, established channel partners, and quality of service," the note said. The company's push into home batteries could make it a winner in that part of the residential clean-energy story as well, according to Needham. "The most imminent catalyst for growth and Sunrun's fastest growth segment are its newly launched Brightbox batteries. As large storms and the resulting power outages become more prevalent, households are increasingly installing measures that allow them to operate off the grid," the note said. Solar stocks have struggled in 2021 after booming last year, and Sunrun is no exception. Shares are down more than 35% year to date and 15% over the past two months. Needham set a price target on Sunrun of $75 per share, which is 68% above where the stock closed on Thursday. -CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this report.
Tim McKibben, left, and Aaron Newsom install Sunrun solar panels on the roof of a home in Granada Hills, California.